I had the misfortune of catching Eminem’s best friend’s show, Wild N’ Out, a few days ago and Big Boi was a guest host. One of the comedians asked Big how it felt to share a stage with someone sporting a pointy bra. Yea, it was funny, but Big shot back a simple response about how Dré would probably whoop said comedian’s ass.
And you know what, I’m inclined to agree. Yeah, Dré has been known to be the softer, more eclectic of the duo. But Mr. Benjamin goes hard (pause your damn self). If you need proof, below the break are André 3000’s hardest verses*.
“Mamacita” (from Aquemini)
One line: “Grab her by her neck/throw her on the wall/Say bitch don’t ever disrespect me/Never not at all.”
Those bars go through my head at least once a week when I’m in a relationship. Though this verse is about lesbian love gone wrong, Dre channeled an inner angry man to grunt out those lines. Dre speaks slightly off-beat with a super-annunciated flow that only adds to the grating, aggressive tone that reflects the sudden mood shift in the story.
“Ain’t No Thang” (from Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik)
One line: “A nigga ready from the get-go/Blao! Ya’ll hear my shit go/It’s André can yo’ punk ass come out to play?!”
It’s almost unfair to include Outkast’s debut in this list because it definitely full of posturing and gun talk that the group abandoned soon after this album was done. This track stands out, though as I remember 3 Stacks sounding like the coldest man on the planet when I first heard this track. It’d be interesting to know what this Dre would think seeing Rooster dancing on the piano at the end of Idlewild.
“Gangsta Shit” (from Stankonia)
When someone murders a track, the first instinct as a listener is to fast forward to that verse and let it ride out. However, “Gangsta Shit” is all about the build-up. There is something about waiting for André to come through in the last hook with the “Do you reallyyy…yea!” to let you know he’s going to shut down shop. Then it starts “Outkast with a K/now them niggas is hard.” This verse personifies Dre’s placement in Hip-Hop perfectly.
“I still take my guitar and take a walk in the park” even while wrecking tracks.
Of course his walk in the park is tantamount to Godzilla’s stroll through Tokyo as Three Stacks destroys everything in his way. He even sings a bit at the end, but it still comes off tough as nails.
“Hootie Hoo” (from Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik)
“A boyyyy to raiiiise at herrrrr young aaaaage/ No help from him but she’s aliiiiiiive”- 3 Stacks crooning on “She’s Alive” from The Love Below.
Just nine years before Dre sang these words about his mom, he penned a tale of legendary assholiness: “Two weeks later she called me with some bullshit/Talking about her period late, guess what I did *click*/ Naw it couldn’t be me, not me…”
It’s one of the most hilarious and heartless endings to a verse you’re going to hear (You see where it got Kane in Menace II Society) and it’s buried deep in Kast’s catalog in a track that is seldom referenced. And let’s not forget that it begins with “now playin these bitches is my favorite sport.” That’s tender, LoveHater.
“Return Of The G” (from Aquemini)
Here’s a blast from the past: opening up a brand-new highly-anticipated CD and popping it in the player. Then listening to the first track and being completely blown away. Dre shed the “pointy bra” and rocked a Ginsu blade to shed the first verse in the Aquemini album with a double-timed near-snarl about the state of Hip-Hop and Black people in general. His verse was so aggressive that Big Boi had to sit back, relax and watch his little girl blow bubbles. And Dre’s verse features the all too prophetic plea to talk about “Time travellin, something mind-unravelin’, GET DOWN!”
*Attention: these aren’t necessarily Dre’s best or most penetrating verses. They’re just bars that show he can get gully too.